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1 What darkness the Lord in his anger
has brought upon the daughter of Zion!
He hurled down from heaven to earth
the glory of Israel,
and did not remember in the day of his anger
that Zion was his footstool.

The LORD's punishment of Jerusalem. Lm.2.1-22
2 The Lord overwhelmed without pity
all the dwellings of Jacob.
In his wrath he tore down
the strongholds of the daughter of Judah;
he levelled with the ground and desecrated
the kingdom and its rulers.

3 In his anger he hacked down
the horn of Israel's pride,
he withdrew his helping hand
when the enemy came on;
and he blazed in Jacob like flaming fire
that rages far and wide.

4 In enmity he strung his bow;
he took his stand like an adversary
and with his strong arm he slew
all those who had been his delight;
he poured his fury out like fire
on the tent of the daughter of Zion.

5 The Lord played an enemy's part
and overwhelmed Israel.
He overwhelmed all their towered mansions
and brought down their strongholds in ruins;
sorrow upon sorrow he brought
to the daughter of Judah.

6 He stripped his tabernacle as a vine is stripped,
and made the place of assembly a ruin.
In Zion the LORD blotted out all memory
of festal assembly festal assembly: or appointed seasons and of sabbath;
king and priest alike he scorned
in the grimness of his anger.

7 The Lord spurned his own altar
and laid a curse upon his sanctuary.
He delivered the walls of her mansions
into the power of the enemy;
in the LORD's very house they raised shouts of victory
as on a day of festival.

8 The LORD was minded to bring down in ruins
the walls of the daughter of Zion;
he took their measure with his line
and did not scruple to demolish her;
he made rampart and wall lament,
and both together lay dejected.

9 Her gates are sunk into the earth,
he has shattered and broken their bars;
her king and her rulers are among the Gentiles,
and there is no law;
her prophets too have received
no vision from the LORD.

10 The elders of the daughter of Zion
sit on the ground and sigh;
they have cast dust on their heads
and clothed themselves in sackcloth;
the virgins of Jerusalem
bow their heads to the ground.

11 My eyes are blinded with tears,
my bowels writhe in anguish.
In my bitterness my bile is spilt on the earth
because of my people's wound,
when children and infants faint
in the streets of the town

12 and cry to their mothers,
'Where can we get corn and wine?'—
when they faint like wounded things
in the streets of the city;
gasping out their lives
in their mothers' bosom.

13 How can I cheer you? Whose plight is like yours,
daughter of Jerusalem?
To what can I compare you for your comfort,
virgin daughter of Zion?
For your wound gapes wide as the ocean;
who can heal you?

14 The visions that your prophets saw for you
were false and painted shams;
they did not bring home to you your guilt
and so reverse your fortunes.
The visions that they saw for you were delusions,
false and fraudulent fraudulent: or causing banishment.

15 All those who pass by
snap their fingers at you;
they hiss and wag their heads at you,
daughter of Jerusalem:
'Is this the city once called Perfect in beauty,
Joy of the whole earth?'

16 All your enemies
make mouths and jeer at you;
they hiss and grind their teeth,
saying, 'Here we are,
this is the day we have waited for;
we have lived to see it.'

17 The LORD has done what he planned to do,
he has fulfilled his threat,
all that he ordained from days of old.
He has demolished without pity
and let the enemy rejoice over you,
filling your adversaries with pride.

18 Cry with a full heart Cry ... heart: prob. rdg, Heb Their heart cried to the Lord,
O wall of the daughter of Zion;
let your tears run down like a torrent
by day and by night.
Give yourself not a moment's rest,
let your tears never cease.

19 Arise and cry aloud in the night;
at the beginning of every watch
pour out your heart like water
in the Lord's very presence.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children prob. rdg, Heb adds
who faint with hunger at every street-corner

20 Look, LORD, and see:
who is it that thou hast thus tormented?
Must women eat the fruit of their wombs,
the children they have brought safely to birth?
Shall priest and prophet be slain
in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 There in the streets young men and old
lie on the ground.
My virgins and my young men have fallen
by sword and by famine;
thou hast slain them in the day of thy anger,
slaughtered them without pity.

22 Thou didst summon my enemies against me from every side,
like men assembling for a festival;
not a man escaped, not one survived
in the day of the LORD's anger.
All whom I brought safely to birth and reared
were destroyed by my enemies.

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